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RayMetz100 05-22-2008 12:39 PM

Club 420 Headstay
I bought about a 20 year old Vanguard Club 420 that's been sitting in the weeds for 10 years for $50. It seems to have everything except for a gudgeon, mainsheet, and spreader tip so now I'm up to $100 invested. I've chartered and skippered about 30 trips on 25 foot boats in the Puget Sound, but never owned my own until now. My goal is to get it on a lake soon to find out what else it's missing and see how the old lines hold up.

I'm confused how to rig the forestay though. There is a metal forestay with a fitting on the bottom end that only reaches to about 1 foot from the bow. There is also a metal wire in the luff(front) of the jib.

I think I'm supposed to use a rope to cover that 1ft in the forestay and then after the jib is raised, I'm supposed to take off the fixed headstay and attach it to the bottom of the mast when I'm running under sail with the jib.

Is this correct? It's a small boat and I weigh 260 lbs so I'm concerned about how I'd get to the bow and back without swimming. For now I plan to leave the headstay on and jib off, but I'm still curious about using 1 foot of rope at the bottom. Does anyone have pics of how to rig that or am I way off base?

Also, the bottom of the mast has a notch which seems to stick in a row of bolt holes in the boat. You put a bolt in one of the holes for adjustment, then the mast fits tightly in from the top. Without the sidestays and headstays tight, you'd be able to lift the mast off the bolt because there is nothing holding it down but gravity. Is that correct or am I missing a part or is something broken?

I don't plan to ever race it or spinnaker or trapeeze. Just lake sail in a light breeze with my kids or maybe try the sound someday if I get a wetsuit and reef points in the main and loose some weight, but that's not likely.

Any active club 420 or vanguard message boards where I can ask these questions? doesn't seem to have a nice active board like sailnet does.

knothead 05-22-2008 12:45 PM

Is it possible that you are simply missing the turnbuckle for the forestay?

twcook 05-22-2008 01:15 PM

There are tons of internet resources for this boat (just do a google search on Vanguard Club 420), including rigging manuals, etc. From looking at the parts locator at Vanguard Club 420 Sailboat Parts it seems to have a fairly standard forestay with an adjuster on the bottom. I don't see any sign of a piece of line filling that gap, and that sounds like a rather bad idea to me.

sailingdog 05-22-2008 01:24 PM


You should probably post photos... but my guess is that Knothead is right and you're missing a turnbuckle.

RayMetz100 05-22-2008 01:35 PM

Look at the 9th photo here:
C420 SSA Fleet Boat 2005
In the vanguard parts lists and at APS, I don't see any turnbuckle. The pic looks like they riugged a rope turnbuckle.

twcook 05-22-2008 02:11 PM


Originally Posted by RayMetz100 (Post 318364)
Look at the 9th photo here:
C420 SSA Fleet Boat 2005
In the vanguard parts lists and at APS, I don't see any turnbuckle. The pic looks like they riugged a rope turnbuckle.

Probably the "shroud adjuster" v20045 is what would have been used; these smaller boats frequently don't use real turnbuckles. The photo looks like they've rigged a tensioner but I don't know if that's for performance reasons or because they were too lazy to order an adjuster when somebody splashed the one that probably came with it.

sailingdog 05-22-2008 02:14 PM


The reason there's no turnbuckle listed is that the vanguard 420 has variable mast rake, and uses a line which allows the mast rake angle to be changed easily, depending on wind strength and the weight of the bowman, etc... The dark purple line in this photo:

is the same line in this photo:

The white line and the steel cable are to temporarily hold up the mast until the headsail is raised, allowing you to set the mast rake and such while the headsail is down. The headsail has a wire luff and the boat doesn't have a normal headstay. It uses the wire luff of the sail instead of a normal forestay.

The 420 is not exactly a good boat for someone who doesn't have a lot of sailing experience, since it is a fairly high-performance racing dinghy.

If you don't know what you're doing on this boat, you're probably going to get yourself into a lot of trouble. I'd highly recommend you either find someone with some Club 420 experience to help you or that you get a different boat.

BTW, the Club 420 is designed to be sailed by TWO youths, and the boat's design weight is 260 lbs. It is designed for two youths to sail, and would probably not fare well with you on it, as it would be seriously overloaded. You weigh as much as the boat does. The boat is not ballasted and as such generally depends on one of the two crew to be out hiking on a trapeze to keep the boat upright. Sailing it by yourself will probably result in a lot of time in the water with a capsized boat.

Giulietta 05-22-2008 03:27 PM

Ray, open this HERE
Print and go

knothead 05-22-2008 04:31 PM

Ray, This discussion has reminded me of a job I did in someones driveway years ago.
I replaced the standing rigging on a little trailerable boat.
The forestay was attached to a piece of line which was led from the cockpit, Under the deck and out through a sheave box at the bow.
This allow the line to be controlled without going forward.
I think there was a cam-cleat or something in the cockpit.

RayMetz100 05-23-2008 11:53 AM

Sailingdog and others,

Thanks for the great forestay info.

"The white line and the steel cable are to temporarily hold up the mast until the headsail is raised"

What do I do with the white line and steel cable after the headsail is raised? Do I have to raise the headsail at the dock or can it be raised and lowered underway?

I know people race the 420, and 90+% of the people buying a new one or even a $2500 used one may do so for racing. If I had $2500 or more for a boat, I wouldn't pick a 420 because racing dingys isn't my thing. The fact is I have it leaning against my garage today and there are 2 tiny lakes within less than a block from my house and a 4 mile circumference lake another 1.5 miles away. The biggest obstical between me floating this 420 in one of the lakes is a trailer. I could still have "fun" with my kids leaving the mast at home and not sailing at all.

I have several hobbies, bills, and savings goals for my paychecks, and right now spending even $1000 on sailing isn't one of them. The next time I spend $1000 on sailing will likely be chartering a 25' keelboat to the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound or taking an multi-night ASA 104 class onboard a 35 footer.

I've seen ads for kids summer camps and others describing the 420 as a training boat with no trapeze and spinnaker. I'm sure there are many better boats for me, but not leaning against my garage and maybe aother $100 of parts. It's also possible I'll take some pics and try to sell it once it's on the water again.

Thanks again for the tips on using the headstay.


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